KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken), which within two months of its opening temporarily brought down the shutters in the Capital in 1995, and then two years later quietly closed shop citing high real-estate costs, could be making a comeback. And this time round with a vengeance—a national roll-out of the fast food chain now owned by Yum Restaurants India Pvt Ltd (formerly Tricon Restaurants) could be expected soon.
Interestingly, while Yum Restaurants is tight-lipped about the KFC comeback plan, sources confirm that the company has recently assigned advertising agency J Walter Thomson (JWT-formerly HTA) with the task of developing fresh communication for the brand.
While JWT general manager Jagdeep Bakshi, confirmed winning the KFC account, he, however, refused to give out the details.
KFC, incidentally, was the first Tricon brand to enter India in 1995, with outlets in Bangalore and New Delhi. A couple of years down the line, KFC quietly closed shop in New Delhi citing high real-estate costs, which were leading to unviable operations. At present, Tricon has a single KFC outlet operating in Bangalore. Though the company has been talking about a gradual expansion of KFC outlets for quite a while, it hasn’t laid out concrete plans as yet.
Industry sources say apart from the problem of real estate costs when Tricon launched the KFC brand initially, it had not understood the market conditions well. The one area where it could have made a mistake was in not Indianising the theme fast enough. The menu at the time was too American, which did not gel well with traditional Indians. But now, having learnt the ropes—the chain seems to have corrected itself in that direction with a very ‘Indianised’ menu through a successful expansion of Pizza Hut, Tricon’s other brand—it may well be ready to build KFC once again. The Pizza Hut brand, incidentally, is also being serviced by JWT.
The international company has recently changed its company’s name from Tricon Restaurants International to Yum Restaurants International after the acquisition of A&W Rest and Long John Silver chain of restaurants internationally. Even in India, the name of the wholly-owned subsidiary of the international company has been changed to Yum Restaurants India Pvt Ltd.